Ten Annoying Things About Ten Otherwise Great Films
I love me some movies, and I will, often at a fault, watch pretty much anything. However, with all the movies I’ve seen over my life time, it happens more frequently than I’d care to admit where I end up finding something unbelievably stupid that would normally get mixed into the story and, consequently, swept under the proverbial rug. Now, with this particular list, I’m not going for like historical inaccuracies or misplaced items in period pieces where they didn’t belong, or even actors who couldn’t pull off a decent accent for their foreign roles if their very lives depended on it. No, these are just specific bits of the plots or narratives that, by all intents and purposes, ought to toss a huge monkey wrench into the machine. More over, they are my opinions and in no particular order, though I have heard a time or two that they can be quite bothersome to others as well. Read on.
For those of you who may have missed this rather silly ride (and its recent sequel) featuring Ben Stiller as Larry, a down-on-his-luck dad who desperately needs a job and ends up becoming the night watchman for the local History Museum. Basically, after midnight, this Tablet of Akmenrah allows the entire joint to suddenly burst to life and roam freely about the grounds. Now, there’s no doubt that one has to suspend a certain amount of disbelief in order to fully enjoy this fun little romp, but the fact still stands tall that there is a really nasty and gaping story hole. Within in the museum there are, as per the norm, displays of people made to LOOK like, say, soldiers, cavemen, explorers, what have you, none of which are actually constructed of any actual bits and pieces of said people. However, once these facsimiles come to life, they take on the exact attributes and actions of those people! NO! Now, I can understand it with the mummy who has the tablet and all the animals, since they are constructed from bones and what not of the creatures, but none of those people were! How could they possibly know, even after coming to life completely magically, how each of those people acted, sounded, whatever. This, ladies and gents, bugs me good.
For this particular annoyance, I’ll use the scene from THE DARK NIGHT. When The Joker is in Arkham, in a specific solitary confinement, well-protected cell, he has, inexplicably, an armed and be-keyed guard. This makes absolutely no sense to me. If the prison staff has done their jobs by removing anything someone like The Joker might use to formulate an escape, and chucks his wacky ass into a fortified room, would there really be any need for a guard? Especially an armed one with a damn ring of keys swinging low! The Joker is a manipulative madman with the innate ability to pretty much get anyone to do anything he wants them to do, even prison guards; imagine his daily conversation to this poor schlub promising him anything just to get him to defect and create a moment for The Joker’s fleeing. Rather stupid for a city so chock-full of criminal masterminds and lunatics. Apparently they’re on Bruce Wayne’s pay role, if you get my drift. And I think you do.
King Kong is a humongous ape. Of this fact there is zero doubt. Go ahead, look at him. I’ll wait. OK, giant ape, good. So, he has the requisite bulging arms, stocky legs, primate cranium, and… oh wait, no, I don’t believe I see them. Hmm… No sir, NO PEE PEE! A damn monkey that fucking enormous would have a unit the size of city bus! There is no way to hide wedding tackle like that, not even in a thatch of ape fur. Look at a real gorilla parading around like the macho animal that it invariably is and you can not even kind of miss his bulging hog! It’s right fucking there and it’s swinging like a clock pendulum! Now, I understand the need to remove the naughty bits back in the thirties when the Kong initially hit the screen, but for the Peter Jackson remake from a few years ago, there surely wasn’t anyone shaking their collective heads at the suggestion of an anatomically correct simian. We can have movies where people are slaughtered in any number of brutal ways, but we can’t get a set King Kong’s balls? Weak.
Though there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about in any one of the newest trilogy, there were several (see: thousands) of scenes that absolutely drove me up the damn wall. I will, however, spare you the pages and pages of angry tirades and just focus on one little nagging bit in the third film. This will take constraint and and willpower, but we’ll get through it together. Ok, so there’s good old Obi Wan and Anakin riding an elevator up to the room in which is held the captive Emperor… whoops, I mean Senator Palpatine (wow, how they missed that little nugget is akin to not knowing Clark Kent is Superman… but I digress). Well, the lift shudders to an abrupt halt and Anakin, being the bullheaded and incredibly dumb-assed baffoon that he is, cuts a hole in the ceiling and leaps free to see what the hold up is. Obi Wan turns around and begins a conversation with R2 D2, naturally, and suddenly, WHAP! Right behind Obi Wan lands Anakin. Obi Wan ignites his light saber and faces his FELLOW JEDI muttering, “Oh, it’s you.” WHAT?!?! How the HELL didn’t he know it was Anakin? Obi Wan is one of the galaxy’s most prevalent Force users and Anakin, well, if he were an old beater car, he’d be leaking his Jedi force oil all over the driveway. How did Obi Wan not know it was Anakin? There is no way! Anakin had yet to fall so fully to the Dark Side that he’d begun to hide his being from other Jedis, and even so, he never did that for any reason in the original trilogy. In fact, that was the reason Obi Wan hid the twins so he wouldn’t find them with his FORCE POWER. THIS SUCKS!
Everyone loves good old Indy. I really liked the new film, so there! Anyway, The Temple of Doom is the second film made, though, chronologically, it’s the first. Here we find Indy, his love-interest Willy, and his little side-kick Short Round, traveling to Pankot Palace to retrieve the sacred Shankara Stones. Once there, they are greeted and welcomed by the eventually-discovered nasties, and given a huge meal as a blessing. This is one of those scenes where you either cringe at what’s served, or else you giggle maniacally at the disturbing dishes. Displayed on the table we see: giant beetles cooked to perfection, eyeball soup, chilled Monkey brains, and, the very part that drives me nutty each and every time I see it: roasted python. Oh sure, snake is supposed to be quite tasty and healthy so, presumably, roasted would be nice. Now, this snake is no doubt dead, so, when it’s cut, AFTER BEING COOKED, out should spill… nothing. LEAST OF ALL MOVING, LIVING, WRIGGLING BABY SNAKES OF AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SPECIES! Yes, yes, each of these movies takes itself far less seriously than you’d expect, but come on! This is so obviously right there and they make a huge deal out of the baby snakes that crawl all over the place and right down the fat guy’s gullet to boot. So irritating.
Absolutely, without a doubt, one of film history’s greatest movie sagas, The Lord of the Rings was a massive undertaking from the get go and, since the Tolkein novels were just so stinkin’ overloaded with pesky imagery and dense dialogue, a wicked tough task to get to the big screen in any incarnation. Basically, from about the half-way point of Fellowship to three-fourths of the way through King, mother fuckers were WALKING. The whole idea was for one little, tiny, insignificant Elijah Wood to get a superbly evil ring to the forging lava from whence in came and toss it into the fire. A LOT of walking. So, at about the three-quarter point of Fellowship we see the epic wizard duel between Gandalf and Saruman where, finally, Gandalf is soundly beaten and sent to his doom from the top of the tower. As he regains strength, he is eventually rescued by a giant golden eagle. Sweet. Oh, fast-forward to the end of King just after Frodo has cast the ring to its demise, and he and Sam are rescued by, guess what, giant golden Eagles! WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T THEY JUST TAKE THE DAMN EAGLES IN THE FIRST PLACE! I don’t want to walk a billion miles if I can take a damn car, why wouldn’t a couple of tiny humans not opt for the ease course of a few giant birds? It’d have made for a far shorter movie, that’s for damn sure.
Anyone who has ever seen an action film where several cars or some other sort of automobile is involved has seen the eponymous gun-shot-to-the-grill/gas-tank-equals-explosion scene. Well, sure, it looks cool, but it’s as stupid as it comes since it just doesn’t happen. There was an episode or two of the Discovery series, MYTHBUSTERS, where the guys prove that this just is not going to happen. It drives me bonkers when a bunch of cars full of gun-toting loons are screaming down the road when, all of a sudden, a shot flies through the grill into the radiator and causes such a catastrophic malfunction that the car just up and explodes. The Simpsons has parodied this a ton of times when Hans Moleman (most often) just taps a tree with his Buick or rolls slowly into a rock and detonates into shrapnel. It’s funny there, it sucks ass on screen.
Someone’s space law says that you can’t, realistically, see any geyser of jet fire or laser fire in space since it’s a vacuum and we’ve all fired lasers there so we know, Nyah Nyah Nyah! Fine, sure, let’s all take that for what it is and assume that you’re just not going to see this kind of stuff spewing from a space ship. Sounds good, we’re all in agreement. Yet, this little law gets broken each and every time a space epic is made! Let’s take Star Wars again, for instance. Watch the very opening scene of A New Hope and you can clearly see rocket fuel fire plumes from both the Tantive IV and the Star Destroyer! And it just gets worse from there: every space battle in the saga and you can see fire, lasers, erupting explosions… you name it. Yes, this makes for a far more dramatic film that would really be lousy without it, but something that’s supposed to be so dramatic like, say, 2010, has not excuse. It aint gonna happen, fools!
L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s book was made into one of the most beloved movies of all time in the 1930’s and has been a classic staple for family viewing ever sense. We all love the timeless tale of Dorothy Gale making her way through the land of Oz as she gathers together her team of misfits to head to the Wizard who will, without a doubt, send her homesick ass home to Kansas. Yes, this whole thing is a fantasy and is purely a tale of childlike wonderment. Fine, we all know that. That being said, there is no need for the chanting of the following annoying mantra: “Lions and tigers and bears, Oh MY!” Now, maybe it’s because it’s Oz that all three of these creatures that normally do not exist anywhere near each other are able, a la Noah’s Ark, to cozy up together, that this fear trilogy can even be slightly realistic. Or, perhaps it’s just the three nastiest animals the crew could come up with to compare to the boogey monsters they were psyching themselves to butting up with in the forest. Whatever the case, it’s stupid and it bugs me to no end every time.
The Home Alone stories based around a child being left somewhere are bad enough in the abuse category without having to toss in even more unrealistic bull shit in the mix. In parts 1 and 2 we see Kevin McCallister left at both home and abroad (NY) facing two villains down (Harry and Marv) with an arsenal of items at his disposal designed to burn, clobber, trip, and otherwise maim his assailants. Each and every one of these particular deadly weapons would, at any given moment, KILL ONE OF THEM! For fuck sake, he chucks bricks, paint cans, concrete pillars, tools, you name it all on the heads of the hapless nasties and not one does more than slightly bruise or dent them! HELL NO! A falling presumably full pain can is heavy! Drop that shit from a second story right into the face of a guy and that poor bastard is done for life! Then in part 3, the kid wallops his would-be captors with a FUCKING BARBELL loaded with at least 30 to 50 pounds of weight directly on top of two guy’s heads… FROM THE DAMN ROOF! That, sir, is instant death. As funny as these actions are and as far as they take the humor level, these kids would be facing sorrowful family members on murder charges. I cry BULL SHIT!